CHICAGO – April 26, 2019 – Homebuyers seeking an edge when submitting an offer are increasingly writing personal letters directly to the seller in an attempt to win over their hearts. But a article calls the effectiveness of those personal letters, suggesting that they may even backfire in selected cases.

Many real estate professionals still point to advantages in an offer letter, however. For one, they may connect with a seller on a personal level by sharing personal stories.

Tracey Hampson, a real estate professional with Realty One Group Success in Valencia, Calif., says she owns a listing with three offers, and she’s favoring the one from a couple who said they’re having a first child and want to raise him in a safe neighborhood. Hampson says she can relate, since she and her husband were in the same situation when they first moved into the home.

A personal letter can also be used to address questions or concerns a seller may have about a buyer’s ability to finance the home. Through the letter, the buyer can offer reassurance of their intention to close and get the purchase financed.

But some real estate agents say that personal offer letters can jeopardize a sale.

“There’s a belief that a letter tips the scales to the seller when negotiating the price and the inspection,” says Karen Kostiw of Warburg Realty in New York City. “The seller may interpret the letter as the buyers ‘showing their hand,’ and it could weaken their position to negotiate.”

Other real estate agents say they advise clients not to write personal letters fearing that it could lead to discrimination.

“Most letters consist of the buyers explaining their lives to add a touch of emotion to their otherwise dry contact, which is why it has worked so long,” says April Macowicz, a broker associate and team lead at the MAC Group RE in San Diego. However, buyers may reveal personal information that could prejudice the sellers against them.

“The Fair Housing Act states that buyers and sellers cannot discriminate on the basis of race or color, sex, religion, national origin, disability or familial status,” Macowicz notes. But this doesn’t mean that discrimination won’t occur.

Source: “Does Writing an Offer Letter to the Seller Help? Not Always – Here’s Why,”® (April 24, 2019)

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